Excessive affection for an abnormal body part…..

BMJ 01 December 2005 Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1347

Dysorganophilia (Farrell’s syndrome): excessive affection for an abnormal body part.

When I was a lad I had a papilloma (a small benign skin growth) on my left upper arm. So I had no need of thumbsucking or a security blanket; I had Bob to twiddle, and we went everywhere together.

“Isn’t he a gorgeous little thing?” girlfriends would say, admiring the elegant stalk, the smooth bulbous head, but as I grew older, more mature and sophisticated, and conscious of the importance of physical perfection, I became embarrassed by Bob. Even on nudist beaches, where I was unashamed to let everything else hang out, I would hide Bob with a bandage.

Eventually I decided Bob had to go.

Distinctly I remember it was in the dark of December, and the razor felt cold, ice against my skin. The vorpal blade went snicker-snack and a drop of blood welled up like a last tear—had I heard a sad little sigh? I left Bob dead and with his head I went galumphing back to the world of normal people.

But years later, I found I was not alone.

Joe refused to have Norm removed, as he had become rather inappropriately fond of his hydrocoele (a collection of fluid around the testicle). As I had worn the T shirt, I could empathise; Norm was cheaper and less troublesome than a pet, didn’t leave a mess, didn’t need a licence, didn’t need to be taken for walks.

Unfortunately, Norm, as is the nature of hydrocoeles, kept accumulating more fluid and getting bigger. Every so often, when Norm became so large that Joe required an extra seat on the bus he would let me drain off a few gallons, but it was a procedure that caused him considerable distress.

“Ah, look at the poor wee thing, don’t be taking too much now,” he would say. “No more, no more, for God’s sake hasn’t he suffered enough?”

“There, there,” I would say, patting his knee, as counselling is so important; sometimes I think I Care Too Much.

Joe would then stand shaking himself for a few moments, getting used to his altered centre of gravity. His mood would also be altered, but as the weeks passed and the implacable forces of physiology forced vibrant life-affirming fluids back into the temporarily flaccid Norm, Joe would regain his jaunty good humour.

“And Norm gives my girlfriends such a scare,” he said, with an evil grin

“I don’t know about your imaginary girlfriends,” I said, like the Iron Duke reviewing his troops before Waterloo, “But by God, he scares me.”



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